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Romney 26, America 16, China 12, Obama 11, U.s. 11, Afghanistan 7, Libya 7, Benghazi 4, Mexico 4, Cincinnati 4, Ohio 4, Northern Mexico 3, Purina 3, Shane Smith 3, Kabul 2, Cairo 2, Gillespie 2, Heather Mcghee 2, Ben 2, United States 2,
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  MSNBC    NOW With Alex Wagner    News/Business. Alex Wagner.  
   Forces driving the day's stories. New.  

    September 17, 2012
    9:00 - 10:00am PDT  

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joining me today, "rolling stone" magazine executive editor eric baits, retired army captain and author of the book "disco r "discovering wes more," wes more, host of the martin bashir show, martin bashir. >> vice president of policy and outreach, heather mcghee. >> 50 days from the election, foreign policy is front and center. the white house has been calibrating its approach to the war in afghanistan and race to prevent a nuclear iran. the wave of anti-american protests that have spread to more than 20 countries including pakistan, indonesia and afghanistan have prompted significant debate about america's role on the global stage. in violent protests this morning more than 1,000 demonstrators took to the streets in kabul. more concerning were a series of deadly insider attacks on u.s. and nato forces.
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insurgents in afghanistan wearing american uniforms killed two marines while causing $200 million in damage. insider attacks killed six nato members elsewhere in the country this weekend. in libya conflicting opinions on whether the attack on the u.s. consulate in benghazi was premed cate tated. >> our current assessment is what happened in benghazi was, in fact, initially a response tains you reaction of what had transpired hours before in cairo, almost a copycat of the demonstrations against our facilities in cairo which were prompted by the video. >> the way these perpetrators acted and moved, this leaves us with no doubt that this was preplanned, predetermined. >> nbc's ayman mohyeldin is live in libya. two wildly differing accounts as to what these attacks and the source of, you know, who
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executed them. i guess, in terms of the intel that you have over there, do we have any further information regarding whether they were premeditated or not? just how much this individual was the had thing that sort of set off the blaze of muslim protests across the muslim world? >> well, at this particular stage it seems it's a little bit of a hybrid between the two different accounts that we heard there between the u.s. ambassador as well as the libyan president, and they're not necessarily contradictory to one another. the libyan president believes an so do other libyan officials there was a plan that was set in motion several months ago the over the course of the last several months in the security vacuum that existed here in libya, foreign elements, perhaps those linked or inspired by al qaeda, entered libya with the plans of carrying out some type of attack. we've seen attacks on diplomatic missions including a british convoy here, british diplomat atacked when his convoy came under fire. the libyans believe there was this plan set in motion, elements gathered and people were planning on carrying out
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the attack. the question was when and how they were going to do it and it's at this point there's a slight difference between what the u.s. assess and the libyans assess. the libyans believe under the cover of the protests outside the u.s. consulates that's when the militants decided to carry out the attack on the u.s. consulate and why there is this differing narrative emerging between the two sides. libyan officials have about 50 people in their custody and all the intelligence on the ground is leading them to believe. >> i want to dra draw your attention to a "new york times" analysis at the root of this. they talk about a culture clash over the definition of the notion of freedom, writing the source of the rage was also a demand that many of them, the protesters, described with the word freedom although in a context different from the terms used in the videoistic west. whether muslim, christian or jewish to be free from grave insult to its identity and values. that would seem to present a bigger question, as it
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regards -- in regards to america's role on the global stage in terms of how we manage this crisis. have you gotten that same sense in you're on the ground there? >> well, you know, i've spent the last several years covering this part of the world and more importantly covering libya. they distinguish the between the two events that took place. one, when it comes to the attack at u.s. consulate people in libya categorically reject it. by far and large everyone i've spoken to have denounced the attack, angered, saying this does not represent libya nor the interests of the libyan people. when it comes to the issue of religion there is a deep sentiment here that offense times in the west when it comes to muslim identity the west fails to protect the rights of the identity of the culture. often times when you speak to seem here, you go to great extents in the west to protect certain freedoms of expression and what is allowed to be said and not allowed to be said. they don't necessarily see it as a black and white issue of
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freedom and as you mentioned they will also cite things like there are laws in the u.s. that protect people from speaking out in certain ways and that is certainly something that people here will fight time and time again. they want there to be a closer gap in terms of how the west respects certain parts of the culture and identity of the muslim world and what cuts to the route of the anger that is here. >> thanks very much to nbc's i man mohyeldin in. martin, the danger in all of this as we talk about one group of people we lump everybody together and certainly it -- we're talking about the attacks in afghanistan, though credited to this video would be more precipitated by the fact that we're fighting a wr over there. egypt, the tension between the muslim brotherhood and the saleh fists and goes into this narrative driven by conservative circles that america has become weak and can't stage manage our
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role internationally. >> i find that remarkable because the president, the current president, has been in public relational and conciliatoriry but in private, brutal and aggressive. actually there's no difference in substance. the president chases al qaeda operatives more aggressively than any other president. pursues drone attacks multiple times more than we hear about. this president is conscious of the point that amman my ha dean was making, that he's trying to reduce the inflammatory and provocative language that insulgtss the cultures of these countries which people like dick cheney were excellent at. when i look at peter king, paul ryan, mitt romney, they seem to be wanting to treat these nations ways deliberately pro tocktive and encouraging of this attack. whereas this president is trying to reduce that rhetoric but at the same time be robust in terms
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of pursuing wrong doers of al qaeda and so on. he is trying do that whereas the neocons and so on are wanting to go back to the opposite approach, a public affect which is brutally aggressive and privately seeking softer relations. >> one of the more outrageous statements that came from the romney campaign last week i thought -- i believe it was rich williams who said this wouldn't have happened under a president romney. >> incredible. >> to which many folks offered would 9/11 have happened under bush. you can't prove a thing. one thing is for certain, romney's response to all of this i think took the national attention away from the issue at hand and as these protests continue we are faced with a more robust foreign policy discussion. i wonder how much you think this is a liability for the president going into november? >> actually, i think it's going to be a real strength for the president going into november. i think the president and actually it's a great point, anilists can be opportunistic
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and you have a lot of that taking place, whether in the variety of different countries where you're watching the protesting, these types of outrage come up. one thing in terms of foreign policy for this election is this, people are not necessarily going to dig into the details about what happened with benghazi versus kabul versus what's happening in different places but there is one thing they'll look for in a commander in chief and that's someone who has not just a grasp of the facts but then also who can be presidential, be calm, and be assertive when necessary. i think when you look at governor romney's first statement coming out and all the statements since, you have seen anything but. and i think that's the thing that's going to be a real turning point inside of this election because when people look at whoever is going to be the president of the united states, a key criteria is who is going to be the commander in chief. who is going to be that presence abroad when the u.s. needs to give that type of outward presence and who is going to trust with that. with all the comments and statements the president has done a good job. >> the fact is, the first ten years of this century have
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hardly been storied successfully for republican leadership, let's be frank. thousands of lives lost. the reconstruction or creation of democracy in iraq and afghanistan still troubled, inadequate, insufficient sheriff's departmentally resourced all kinds -- insufficiently issued and still using the same rhetoric who wants to persuade us to lead this nation forward. >> without illiciting any specifics or the ones he has mentioned are basically the same as president obama if we're talking about red lines and so forth, martin made the important point when you look at brass tacks and what the president has done when you look at counter terrorism he has been as aggressive as bush/cheney. >> more so. >> this is one of those cases where the partisan label is all that matters. if president obama were a republican, they would be thrilled to have him on foreign affairs. >> right. >> no question.
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they couldn't imagine a better president in their dreams than he's been and that's in part why he's taken the mantle away from the republicans in terms of the earn that americans most trust when it comes to foreign policy. that said, i agree with a lot of what's been said, i think this is a wild card for both camps and in that regard it's too early to say who it's going to benefit. if it continues to get worse, it provides an opportunity for romney who desperately needs an opportunity of any kind to change the conversation and to change the public perception. can he do it? doubtful. based on his prior performance in this area. and obama is masterful in this area. you would think, you know, the point goes to obama if it gets worse. but romney just needs anything at this point. >> something, comma, anything exclamation point. we have to wrap this but nic had it the best when he said romney touches foreign policy he breaks things. it is not a good shop for him to be in if you will. >> no.
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definitely not. and good thing actually that most voters are actually going to turn on the economy, end of story. >> we will be talking more about romney campaign strategy in the next block. trouble in romney land. a new politico story indicates it might be time for a bain style overhaul within the romney campaign. >> for somebody who sells himself as mr. fix-it, for someone who is very successful corporate leader, republicans are baffled that mitt romney doesn't have a better organized campaign and we really saw it with this laurel and hardy routine around the convention speech. >> mike allen dropping baffled and laurel and hardy in reference to the romney team. with 50 days to go what's team romney going to do? we're going to discuss next on "now." bob...
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oh, hey alex. just picking up some, brochures, posters copies of my acceptance speech. great! it's always good to have a backup plan, in case i get hit by a meteor. wow, your hair looks great. didn't realize they did photoshop here. hey, good call on those mugs. can't let 'em see what you're drinking. you know, i'm glad we're both running a nice, clean race. no need to get nasty. here's your "honk if you had an affair with taylor" yard sign. looks good. [ male announcer ] fedex office. now save 50% on banners.
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while president obama and the white house deal with turmoil abroad an article in politico depicts a romney campaign with turmoil. they report that romney campaign scrapped two separate speeps for governor romney leading up to the republican national convention. romney and chief strategist stewart stevens comed together a speech days before he gave it. politico writes, quote --
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hours after the politico article published steven says the campaign is shifting strategies to focus on the governor's policy solutions and make this year's election a debate between status quo and change. here's what romney senior strategist ed gillespie said in the last hour -- >> it's both a new emphasis and a renewed emphasis on specifics. >> which convention that guy was watching. >> where everybody learned -- >> which convention was he watching? >> i mean i learned more about furniture to say empty chairs
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than about mitt romney at that convention. >> what happened here was, the field for the primaries was so pathetic and weak, with so many troubled characters against romney, that romney never really had to try very hard in the process and he got to the presidential election and he faces off against a president who's not only specific in detail, but very competitive, with a very aggressive team and he's floundering all over the place. so what happened was i think he got lulled into a false sense of security and then suddenly found himself in the presidential race, there are no details, no policies. ed gillespie says they're going to talk about specifics what specifics? there aren't any specifics. >> and keep in mind, heather, you know better than anybody, president obama has owned the narrative around romney's policy in the way that the romney campaign -- they have no ownership over the policies they theoretically have put out there, which is to say the ryan budget. i guess the question is, whether they can pivot off this and make -- get policy out there in
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a way that's compelling to the american public. >> as a policy person i would be thrilled to have this conversation, right. this is the conversation that we need to have and i think it's going to be interesting to watch the debate in october where he's actually going to have to answer point for point. it is just tax cuts for millionaires, prelehman wall street rules and what on health care? repealing basically what is the massachusetts law, except no, actually i like it when young people get to stay on their parents plans, preexisting conditions. >> can have the coverage but can't have the mandate. >> you're starting to see public opinion shift. new polls out this weekend that show the president erasing romney's lead on the economy and voters believe democrats will do a better job on medicare than republicans. that's do in large part to, a, the the democratic convention and the democrats having a unified message but the fact that the obama campaign has had months, they've been winding up on the pitcher's mound for months as if the romney campaign
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is surprised they're even at bat here. >> i would disagree that romney was able to coast through the primaries or didn't have to work hard. he had to work really hard at appearing conservative which doesn't come naturally to him. didn't have to focus on the things he was going to need in a general election. the lack of specifics wasn't an afterthought. that was the plan. all along was to run on nothing and to run against obama and to have nothing of your own, you had to defend but to blame blame blame. that hasn't worked. it's a credit to the voters who we don't give credit to that they're paying eattention, what do you got? the answer nothing. we're going to tell -- nothing that we're going to tell you about right now. >> today he's now talking about latino voters. >> right. >> like a man who goes to a buffet and hasn't decided what he wants to pull off. start with bain. hasn't worked. let's go to foreign policy. that wasn't so great. okay. let's go to china towards -- that wasn't brilliant.
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today we'll do latinos. in terms of constructive presentation of policy, it's like -- it's a shambles. >> and even a targeted message, right, he has basically forfeited latino vote, african-american vote, up until sort of little -- he'll go and visit whether the naacp or today's visit to dolph his cap to the fact that will there are minority voters. at the end of the day we have to win 60% of the white vote and we'll make these -- we'll spend time at the beginning -- >> pit tu lar gestures. >> you nail it. >> knowing we're not going to sway any minorities. >> there's two real dynamics they're running against. one, it is going, this is not a unified republican party and mitt romney has a very -- the second thing is i do think they cast that out and say we're going to make the president win on the record. we're going to make the
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president win in the last four years. what the obama campaign has said we'll do that then and took the convention and said let's have a talk about the auto bailout. those same things when mitt romney said let's let detroit go bankrupt, have a conversation about the auto bailout, about foreign policy and now that obama administration has not run from their record which was the assumption, which would be done, now the republicans are left flat footed wow, he has some answers and they then do not have answers to those. >> in fact, we did build it. >> we're also learning something through this process about romney as a manager and leader he was a turn around specialist is a myth. we ran a series of stories a couple weeks ago showing what romney did at bain wasn't turn around companies, he didn't even care about turning around the companies. what he did was go in and suck value out of the companies before they collapsed and he got his money whether they collapsed or not. he doesn't have experience in managing. he wouldn't know anything about the business hess was running. he was proud of that fact. other people do that.
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they took out the money and got out of dodge before the companies fell apart. the idea he's a managerial expert who knows how to runs things is being exposed in the way he's running his campaign. that was never his business to begin with. >> i don't think managers want adjectives as laurel and hardy-esque to the description of their campaign. should he let anyone go at this point? the person that politico story targets is stew stew vens but would a shakeup benefit him. >> also it describes mr. romney as a loyal person, someone that sticks with his team. the answer to that question is no. to eric's point, though, and i read the articles writ bin matt taibbi, there is a parallel here, romney is very, very good at assessing the president's performance and what's happened, but he can't constructively build anything of his own. it's all about reengineering
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what exists as bain did, as opposed to actually creating a business. it is a mythology that the man is somehow a genius when it comes to company construction and business. that's just not true. and your article or matt's article in the paper in the magazine just bore that out right the way through. that's why the campaign is mirroring that. he ae's doing in his campaign w he did in business. he goes at the president instead of actually saying these are my constructive policies here's the bus i've create sthoods he needs to -- the business i've created. he needs to give america the age-old breakup line it's not about you, it's about me. president obama is set to speak this hour and make his case to voters where automakers make up one in every eight jobs. this is the 12th visit to the buckeye state. what makes today's rally any different? we will ask ben he bolt coming
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just two aleve can keep pain away all day. back to the news. you are looking live at cincinnati, ohio, where president obama is expected to announce that his administration is filing a complaint with the world trade organization accusing china of unfairly propping up its auto industry. more than 12% of ohio's work force is supported by car manufacturing and coincidence or not, the announcement comes as governor mitt romney continues to ramp up his attacks saying the president is weak on china. today romney released a new ad promising to take on the chinese government. >> my plan is to help the middle class. trade has to work for america. that means crack down on cheaters like china and open up new markets. >> the obama campaign meanwhile has its own criticisms for governor romney ahead to his speech this afternoon.
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they dig into the highlight reel to remind why romney is doing so poorly with latino voters. >> he only has a few weeks to overhaul his positions and slow his declining popularity with latino. can he cover up his belief in self-deportation with a bold new wall paper choice? >> joining us from chicago, national press secretary for the obama campaign, ben lebolt. great to see you. >> thanks for having me, alex. >> ben, first question, one you're going to get asked all day, but coincidence or not, in july the administration announced another wto complaint against china on the same day that president began a bus tour of ohio and pennsylvania. press secretary jay carney pushing back saying this is a not a campaign tactic. the president is not abdicating his responsibilities as president of the united states. but it seems pretty nakedly political. >> well, this isn't the first time we've announced a trade enforce hadment action to ensure china plays by the rules for american workers and businesses.
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it's the ninth time. this president has brought twice as many cases to the wto to ensure china plays by the rules as the previous administration. no doubt there is a contrast in this campaign when the president has done this in the past, governor romney criticized it as bad for the nation and our workers. so this is part of the choice that's on the ballot in november. but this came out of an investigation by the new trade enforcement that the president announced several months ago which has increased the capacity of the u.s. government to bring these cases and make sure that there's a level playing field for american workers and businesses. >> ben, i got to ask you, we have seen a lot of rhetoric from the romney campaign in recent weeks regarding china and, you know, the criticism in some circles is that it's really stride dent and not going to get anywhere. the chinese are huge trading partners with the u.s., own $1.3 trillion in our debt and some corners may be working tough talk on the chinese is politically expedient. what do you make of the romney rhetoric on china? >> we need to match it with his
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record. this is somebody who is a corporate buyout specialist, invested in companies that were pioneers in outsourcing. there's a video that's been circulating on-line of governor romney talking about work conditions at a plant owned by a company called global tech. which had guard towers and bausched wires, keeping workers in. 12 women per dorm room working in this facility and what governor romney doesn't say in the video is that bain then pursued an investment in this company, in this plant. he's profited off of these companies in china and he's enabled companies to create those jobs in china instead of in the united states. >> ben, your boss, the president, of course, is speaking right now at his campaign event in cincinnati. let's take a quick listen. >> you know, each side has been able to make its case. they had their thing in tampa. we had our thing in charlotte. now just 15 days from now, ohio
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starting on october 2nd. you guys can start voting and you've got a big choice to make. i honestly believe it's the clearest choice of any time in any generations. not just between two candidates or political parties but a choice between two fundamentally different visions of how we move forward as a country. and ur our vision, our fight, is for that basic bargain that built the greatest middle class on earth and the strongest economy the world has ever known. it's a bargain that says, if you work hard, that hard work will pay off. that responsibility will be rewarded. that everybody should get a fair shot. everybody should do their fair share. everybody should play by the same fruls main street to wall
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street to -- rules from main treatment to wall street it to washington, d.c. four years ago i ran for president because i saw that basic bargain eroding. too many jobs getting shipped overseas. too many families who are struggling with the costs from everything from groceries to gas to college to health care, racking up more and more debt just to keep up with expenses because paychecks weren't going up the way costs were. and then because of that debt, it made things that much harder and when that house of cards collapsed, in the worst recession since the great depression, we saw millions of americans lose their jobs, homes, life savings, and we're still fighting to recover from that tragedy. now the other side, they're more than happy to talk about what they think is wrong with america. they won't tell you how it started.
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but they're happy -- they're happy to talk about what's wrong. they don't do much to tell you what they're going to do to make it right. they want your vote, but they don't want to tell you their plan. and the reason is, because the plan they've got is the same one they've been offering for decades. tax cuts, tax cuts. gut a few regulations and let's try some more tax cuts. tax cuts in good times, tax cuts in bad times, tax cuts when we're at peace and tax cuts when we're at war. you want to make a restaurant reservation or book a flight, you don't need the new iphone, try a tax cut. drop a few extra pounds, try a tax cut.
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they've got one answer for everything. now, i've cut taxes too. for folks who need it. [ applause ] >> middle-class families, you're paying about $3600 less in federal taxes since i've been president. i cut taxes for the middle class like i promised. small businesses, i cut taxes 18 separate times. but i don't think another round of tax breaks for millionaires will bring good jobs back to ohio. or pay down our deficit. i sure don't believe firing teachers or kicking students off financial aid will help grow our economy or compete with countries like china that are producing engineers and scientists. after all that we've been through, does anybody actually believe that rolling back
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regulations on wall street, are somehow going to help the small businesswoman in cincinnati expand or the construction worker who's been laid off? let me tell you, we have been there, we have tried that, we are not going back. we're not going back. >> that was president obama in cincinnati, ohio, talking to auto workers. we are still here with ben labolt the obama campaign's chief spokesperson. the president, with a new zinger about tax cuts if you want to book a reduced airfare, try a tax cuts. or that's what the republicans are prescribing. drop a couple pounds, try tax cuts. i guess the question is, you know, david learnhart had a great analysis in "the new york times" about the great republican theory that tax cuts lead to economic growth and there's a chart and shows as the taxes have gotten lower economic growth has been on a steady decline. are we going to be seeing a lot
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of this kind of rhetoric in the next six weeks in interesting the president noted early voting begins in 15 days in ohio on october 2nd. >> is that part of the core economic choice. the thing with governor romney's policies they're not new, they're recycled. $5 trillion tax cuts for the wealthiest paid for by the middle class. we passed those tax cuts in 2001 and 2003, lead to the slowest pace of job creation since world war ii. as a financial house of cards that collapsed in 2008. you'll be hearing about it from us in the days ahead. >> heather, in terms of economic specifics, the president mentioned middle class tax cuts $3600 they've gotten, that is not something the broad swath of the american voting public understands. the rhetoric out there or the mean is that president obama has raised taxes. what does the white house need to do to further that message, get it cemented in the american
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mind? >> yeah. no, i think more of what he has been doing. i mean, the difference is, when president bush did a tax cut your got it in a check. there was like a $200 check. because of economic, you know, reasoning, they did it -- the obama administration did it through withholdings. you're likely to spend it and not put it in your savings account when it comes through your paycheck being bigger every two weeks. great for the stimulus, wasn't great for the, r because people didn't know they were getting the biggest middle and working class tax cut in history. but what they need to do now, is actually just explain that. i mean i honestly wouldn't mind seeing some sort of administration person showing, you know, your actual paycheck stub because that's where you saw it. i think what's so interesting, is that we are now seeing democrats actually criticizing, giving tax cuts. the fact that the president felt like he could say that phrase tax cuts which has always polled well, tax cut abstractly, could
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say that in a mocking way, shows that the american people actually recognize that there is something about investing that needs to be done in our future and it's not just about getting as much money back in a short term way and it's actually hurting our long-term economic growth. i think it's a fascinating shift. >> ben labolt, i would say in the latest poll numbers, the president is leading mitt romney by seven points in ohio. coupled with that, i'm going to term it swagger-iffic line on the tax cuts. seems the attitude toward the state of ohio is bullish, would you agree, sir? >> well, listen well, think this race is close and competitive. it has been for a year and a half. we think it will be at the end of the day. that's why we've been building this organization across the country for the past 500 days. we're getting outspent by special interests flooding with negative messages about the president because they're trying to maintain taxpayer subsidies for oil companies and defend their special interests. we're taking nothing for granted, working day in and day
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out. when they look at a president who granted rescue loans to the auto industry, turned the manufacturing sector around, 500,000 manufacturing jobs have been created and stood up for american workers and businesses around the world, they're seeing the choice start to crystallize. >> something tells me that the president is not going to be shy about saying the word auto bailout and the auto industry and manufacturing sector in the coming debates. thank you to ben labolt, national press secretary for president obama's re-election campaign and sadly, tragically, i have to say good-bye to my friend and colleague. >> i have to go and do work. >> the honorable, ma live few was host of "the martin ba shish show". >> mar dtin bashir. see him at 4:00 p.m. eastern time on msnbc. coming up the first mormon presidential candidate has done little to lift the veil surrounding the mormon faith. a documentary that showcases the drug wars between mexican
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cartels and mormon including distant family members of the romney clan. shane smith joins us next. ♪ you know, ronny... folks who save hundreds of dollars by switching to geico sure are happy. and how happy are they jimmy? i'd say happier than a bodybuilder directing traffic. he does look happy. get happy. get geico. fifteen minutes could save you fifteen percent or more on car insurance. your soups are so awesomely delicious my husband and i can't stop eating 'em! what's...that... on your head? can curlers! tomato basil, potato with bacon... we've got a lot of empty cans. [ male announcer ] progresso. you gotta taste this soup.
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of onetouch ultra. really? so testing is one less thing i have to worry about today. great. call or click today and get strips and a meter free. test easy. we're going from america into juarez, northern mexico. why? because american mormons came down here about 100 years ago and those same mormon colonies are fighting the drug cartels because the drug cartels started kidnapping them. >> that is a preview of the new vice documentary "the mexican mormon war" looking at the conflict between mexican drug cartels and mormons living in mexico, including some of governor romney's relatives. joining the package is shane smith, journalist and co-founder of the multimedia vice empire. here buzz feed's mckay coppens whose article on governor romney asserts his campaign will be focussed on more god, less
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economy. shane, i hand the mike to you. what is the mexican mormon war and how does mitt romney's family factor into it? >> we went down there because -- as it says in the trailer, mormons went down from america because they outlawed polygamy so they wanted to keep being polygamists so they went to northern mexico and the romneys were part of that original exod exodus. one of the clans, the hebarron clan, famous -- i don't know if anyone has heard of erville hebarron, killed over 40, him and his family, and after they got him in jail another 25 people were killed because he gave this sort of blood atonement text to have them killed. they're a polygamous sect separates from the romneys, but the romneys are lsd, because of this internal civil war within their own church, they were -- they armed themselves and they
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were fighting. when the mormons -- so when the cartels started kidnapping them for money. >> as part of the larger drug cartel war. >> yes. they started kidnapping them and said we're not going to pay the ransom, we're going to fight back. actually, one of the worst narcos ever, killed 18 people in a drug rehab center just because they were trying to get off the stuff, incredibly bad guy, he lived eight miles down the road from lebar ron and they were having this war. while we were down there we found out that the romneys have their own colony just across the valley and so we went to hang out with them as well and they had been kidnapped by drug cartels. >> are they armed and participating in the standoff, this war with the drug cartels? >> they paid the ransom and they have had kidnappings. they're not actively going to war. >> right. >> the lebar rons are. it's a valley where there's about four or five mormon communities and, you know,
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they're at war. >> it's worth noting these are distant relatives of mitt romney. we talk about the mormon question, talked on the show so many times, this is the week that mitt romney is going to embrace his faith, you write in -- on buzz feed he's going to embrace religion in a bigger fashion, but perhaps not by mentioning mormonism but by appealing to the evangelical base. mitt romney needs to win 60% of the white vote, evangelicals make up a part of that. could he better utilize the mormon thing to his advantage is. >> i think we got a glimpse of that at the republican convention. where he had a series of testimonials from former members of his congregation talk about he was there with a child dying of cancer, at the bedside of that child, and various capacities as a mormon bishop, things he had done. a lot of observers agreed that was one of the only moments of the convention and campaign that humanized romney. but we didn't see any kind of, you know, calculated way to push
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that into the rest of the campaign. that was kind of isolated to one night and now he's back to not talking about his faith very much. i think that like i write, you know, he's going to be talking about god more. he already is. he talked about how he's not going to take god off our currency. >> which was -- as i think jen, the obama campaign person said there's as much likelihood of that as aliens attacking florida. but it is interesting as we talk about the country's first mormon candidate how little lifting of the veil there has been vis-a-vis the mormon faith and the prejudice that still exists as far as mormons in this country and the things that sort of whether it's the polygamist stigma that has sort of made it ways down to mexico and is now, you know, being battled out with mexican cartels as shane has detailed he could do -- it could be a great moment for mormons in america. interviewed by david gregory a couple weeks ago and asked and
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he immediately pivoted to judeo christian beliefs. >> first off, seems like this is part and parcel with the way romney approaches everything, which is, not to talk about it. to keep it private. and to not tell you his faith, his business record, his tax plan, his jobs plan, his energy plan. >> right. >> he just won't say. and this seems very integral to the guy in some way, he believes that he shouldn't have to tell you those things. the other thing is, it's interesting how he didn't take a page from barack obama who ran in 2008 as somebody who was or could have been perceived by many americans as outside the main stream and he made that not only a badge of honor but took it as an opportunity to say, look at how my story is part of america's story. and romney could have done that with his faith. he could have said, yeah, you think mormonism is over here but it's really part of america and look at the persecution we've experienced and the way we've stood up for it and the way we
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evangelized our beliefs and try to help others. he could have made a compelling case out of that in the way that obama did but he hasn't even attempted it. >> what do the romneys in mexico think of mitt romney and the romneys here in the u.s.? >> that's a great question. when you say distant relatives his dad was born there. >> right. >> b, you know, what they talk about is, nafta, screwed up the farming in northern mexico. what that led to if you're going to get a job, two ways, go to america legally or work for the drug cartels. you know, they're big 6'3" guy, cowboy hats, republicans be love romney and saying but he's completely wrong on immigration and on drugs policy because look if you come down here, it's a full-on war. it's only going to get worse. if you keep it as prohibition it's only going to -- kelly romney his cousin says, as long as america is the swimming pool this is the diving board. you know, so when you talk, they actually say on camera, hey, mitt, please call us, we can help you because you have to
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understand this stuff. if changes aren't made it's only going to get worse. >> fascinating that mitt romney could learn a lesson, a thing or two from his polygamous cousins in mexico visa vis -- >> the romneys aren't polygamists, the lebar rons are. they have a strong views on his policies and say he's wrong because he doesn't understand what's happening there. >> a documentary that is on-line starting today. >> today. >> part one. >> thanks to vice co-founder shane smith. part one as we said, the mexican mormon war. check out mckay coppens story on buzz feed. the president has taken to joking about his own birth certificate. >> you were born in hawaii. >> in kuai. >> do you have a birth certificate? >> yes, sir. >> but two recent pieces of anti-obama propaganda aren't exactly laugh riots. we will discuss those next in what now.
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oh, hey alex. just picking up some, brochures, posters copies of my acceptance speech. great! it's always good to have a backup plan, in case i get hit by a meteor. wow, your hair looks great. didn't realize they did photoshop here. hey, good call on those mugs. can't let 'em see what you're drinking. you know, i'm glad we're both running a nice, clean race. no need to get nasty. here's your "honk if you had an affair with taylor" yard sign. looks good. [ male announcer ] fedex office. now save 50% on banners.
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welcome back. time for what now, sunday's "new york post" featured this ad that claims president obama's father is actually labor activist frank marshall davis, a promotion for dreams for my real father, wan run day before the obama's documentary 2016 obama's america, hit number 15. dreams from my real father is coming out as a dvd. there is no shortage of an appetite for othering the president and highly racialized theories. >> this has been a theme long before he ever you no took the seat inside the white house. you have to think to yourself he's done such an amazing job showing how this does not affect him. >> the birth certificate joke we showed going into the break. >> that's right. but i think there's -- the real long-term consequences of this
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as well. here are the long-term consequences, we are going to have a lot of good, qualified, smart people who should be going into public office who should be trying to get themselves elected into positions where they can have influence over the lives of other people who will say if this is how you're going to treat someone who has the life story of president obama, who can be doing anything else he chooses to and chose to be a public servant and this is how he is treated a lot of people will think twice about going along those routes. both short and long-term consequences to this nonsense that comes out. >> vili fiing public officials and public service in general doesn't make anyone seager to run for office. worth noting that "fahrenheit 9/11" is number one, march of the penguins two, justin bieber never say never is three and some part of the $73 million was you going, that was all you. i'm going to give heather mcghee credit for number four, obama's america at $35 million. never say never.
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thank you to my panel. eric, wes, that is all for now. noon eastern, 9:00 a.m. pavg joined by john heilemann and karen finney. follow us at twitter now with alex. >> thanks so much. coming up next, the unrest spashgd by that anti-muslim film, spreads to 20 countries in the middle east and north africa including the violent situation in afghanistan. two live reports from the region and talk to former defense secretary william cohen, politico's jim vandehei and his reporting inside the romney campaign. about who is to blame for clint eastwood and the chair. "andrea mitchell reports" up next, join us. a key role throughout our entire lives. ♪ one a day men's 50+ is a complete multi-vitamin designed for men's health concerns as we age. ♪
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right now on "andrea mitchell reports" the protests spread to afghanistan today. we' will white house contradict claims that the benghazi attacks were planned with